Food

Our Ultimate Guide to Summer Food Festivals Around DC

Barbecue battles, beer tastings, all-you-can-eat crabs, and more.

Outdoor food festivals are happening all summer long, like the National Capital Barbecue Battle in June. Photograph courtesy Giant National Capital Barbecue Battle.

Taste of Reston
When: Friday, June 14 and Saturday, June 15
Where: Reston Town Center (11900 Market St., Reston)
Sample jambalaya, gyros, and chicken tikka masala from 24 restaurants around Northern Virginia. Stop by the Wine n’ Dine booth to catch cooking demonstrations by local chefs and to take a culinary souvenir home. The festival is free to enter, and food will be for sale at individual restaurant booths. 

Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival
When: Saturday, June 15
Where: National Harbor (804 National Harbor Blvd., National Harbor)
This festival tours the country with a line-up of ribs, brisket, and other smoked meats. Wash down barbecue and fixings with unlimited bourbon and beer samples, thanks to the more than 40 participating distilleries and breweries. The festival is spreading the smoky gospel at the “Shrine of Swine,” where pitmasters will serve pulled pork all day long. $35-$46. 

Indian Vegetarian Food Festival
When: Sunday, June 16
Where: Freer Plaza (Jefferson Dr. and 12th St., SW)
Work up an appetite before this free festival with yoga at the Washington Monument, courtesy of the Embassy of India. Then head over to Freer Plaza where local vendors will serve vegetarian dishes from across the Indian subcontinent.  

DC Filipino Food Festival 
When: Saturday, June 22
Where: District Pier at the Wharf (101 District Sq., SW)
This free event, presented by the Embassy of the Philippines, showcases Filipino flavors from restaurants like Kaliwa, Daikaya, and Tiger Fork. Purchase tasting tickets to sample dishes like lumpia, and catch musical performances by the waterfront.  

National Capital Barbecue Battle
When: Saturday, June 22 and Sunday, June 23
Where: Pennsylvania Ave. between Third and Seventh sts., NW
Brisket, ribs, and sausage are on the meaty menu at this annual event where pitmasters vie for prizes. Who will win the best barbecue sauce award? Or reign as the pork shoulder champion? They’ll also hold cooking demonstrations. Fans of the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest can catch a qualifying match to see who will represent the DMV in the 4th of July competition. $15-$30. 

Purcellville Wine & Food Festival 
When: Saturday, July 13
Where: Dillon’s Woods in the Fireman’s Field Complex (250 S. Nursery Ave., Purcellville)
Wine lovers can channel their inner sommelier for the day, sampling varietals from wineries  around Virginia. Grab a bite from local food vendors while you catch the live art demonstrations and musical performances. $5-$250.

Truckeroo
When: Friday, June 28, Friday, July 19, Friday, August 2, and Friday, August 23
Where: Half Street Fairgrounds (25 M St., SE)
Navy Yard’s free monthly festival brings together several DC food trucks. The diverse offerings range from Red Hook Lobster Pound’s Maine-style lobster rolls to Pho Wheel’s banh mi sandwiches. Food is for purchase at each truck. 

Brew at the Zoo
When: Thursday, July 18
Where: Smithsonian National Zoo (3001 Connecticut Ave., NW)
Attendees can sip bottomless brews from 70 breweries, including local brands like Right Proper Brewing Company and ANXO Cider. Lions and tigers won’t be the only animals on view: the zoo has dubbed this season “Dino Summer,” and a new outdoor dinosaur exhibit means you can raise a glass with prehistoric pals. $30-$125.

Washingtonian BBQ & Brew
When: Thursday, July 25
Where: Transit Pier at the Wharf
Sure, the District might not be known for it’s own distinct barbecue style. But you don’t have to travel for Texas brisket and vinegary east Carolina sauce, thanks to the bevy of local ‘cue joints at this party. There will be local beers to go with the meats. $50-$65. 

All American Beer Festival
When: Saturday, August 3
Where: The Fairgrounds (1299 Half St., SE)
Sample beers from sea (Hawaii’s Kona Brewing Company) to shining sea (DC Brau). 33 breweries will offer unlimited tastings, and there will be food trucks for sustenance. $25-$40.

DC Veg Fest
When: Sunday, August 11
Where: Nationals Park (1500 S. Capitol St., SE)
At the largest vegan festival on the East Coast—free to attend—food vendors serve a bevy of vegan bites like “chicken” and waffles. Tiny vegans can catch cooking demonstrations at the Kids Zone, and speakers include Washington Post food editor Joe Yonan and author Tracye McQuirter.

Watermen’s Appreciation Day
When: Sunday, August 11
Where: Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (213 N. Talbot St., St. Michaels)
The main event at this nautical festival is the “watermen’s rodeo,” a boat docking competition with bleacher-style seating. Steamed crabs will be available for purchase, along with other warm weather favorites like hot dogs, corn on the cob, and ice cream. $18.

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Around the World Cultural Festival
When: Saturday, August 17
Where: Freedom Plaza (1455 Pennsylvania Ave., NW)
Restaurants representing countries like Morocco, Columbia, Australia and France showcase their culinary traditions at this free festival. Food will be available for purchase.  

Chesapeake Crab, Wine, and Beer Festival
When: Saturday, August 24
Where: National Harbor (804 National Harbor Blvd., National Harbor) 
Get your fill of Chesapeake crabs at this all-you-can-eat festival with Potomac River views. Crabs are served six at a time to each person, plus sides like corn on the cob and cole slaw. For free flowing wine and beer samples, spring for the unlimited tasting ticket. $39-$125. 

Maryland Seafood Festival
When: Saturday, September 7 and Sunday, September 8
Where: Sandy Point State Park (1100 E. College Pkwy., Annapolis)
Head to Annapolis for oysters, bacon-wrapped scallops, and mixed seafood platters. Of course, crab is king here, and the crustaceans are honored with cake-eating contests and the 29th annual crab soup cook-off. As restaurants and caterers compete for the crown, you can dive into a soft-shell crab sandwich or fries sprinkled with Old Bay. $15-$65. 

 

 

 

Daniella Byck

Daniella joined Washingtonian in August 2018. She is a University of Wisconsin-Madison grad and lives in Logan Circle.